A policeman arrests Israeli right-wing activist Itamar Ben Gvir during a 'Peace Now' demonstration in Jerusalem.
(photo credit: GALI TIBBON / AFP)
The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court has called into question whether Judea and Samaria police are being honest when representing how long they need to detain right-wing activists, and how many investigative procedures need to be performed before they are released.
A decision handed down on Thursday by Judge Joya Skappa-Shapiro, but announced only on Tuesday by the pro-settler NGO Honenu, slammed police conduct as “creating a doubt regarding the seriousness with which the court should treat police declarations about the investigative actions it wishes to perform and for which it needs to extend the detention period” of suspects.
Honenu publicized the decision following Monday’s release to house arrest of a minor suspected of involvement in “price tag” attacks in the western Binyamin region. The court felt that police were providing misleading statements of what their investigation needed so that they could keep the 15-year-old in detention.
The release came just days after Skappa- Shapiro ordered a different minor released to house arrest against the wishes of police. Honenu said this indicated a pattern by police of fabricating investigative work in order to unjustifiably prolong the detention of rightwing activists.
The court specifically stated that one reason for Thursday’s rejection stemmed from having seen “in another case where the same investigative acts were requested by the same unit,” and that “the extended detention for performing the investigative actions was in vain.”
Skappa-Shapiro added that “the actions were not performed, without any explanation that could possibly be acceptable.”
Judea and Samaria police spokesman Dudu Ashraf responded to Honenu’s allegation by saying the NGO was “spouting nonsense.”
Ashraf said the minor ordered released on Thursday was suspected of having attacked a Palestinian shepherd, and that police wanted to keep him in custody so they could engineer a confrontation between him and another suspect.
However, they failed to locate the other suspect.
He added that the case was far from over, and police still expected to gain an indictment for the attack on the shepherd.
Framing the issue, Ashraf said Honenu was looking for chances to lash out at Judea and Samaria police because they were investigating price-tag attacks. He said its criticism was not being taken seriously.
Attorney David Levy, who has been representing the other minor who was released, said he hoped the police would internalize the NGO’s harsh criticism, calling their actions “arbitrary conduct that the police have changed into being their routine.”